Pssst! If you love your nail art, you need to check out the new venue in East Bristol, stat, says Amanda Nicholls
Having grown up just down the road from Old Market – a part of town seemingly overlooked by many for years – I’ve found a great source of satisfaction in watching its steady regeneration.
The vibrant likes of The Old Market Assembly, The Exchange, Barrika Tapas, The Punchbowl and Two’s Company Studios continue to breathe life into the main stretch and give it a good buzz, and creative new businesses appear to be popping up all the time. The latest to grab our attention is Glitch. A hair salon as well as an art and live music venue, whose owners also plan to introduce cocktails and a record store, it’s a multi-faceted space that’s just added to its offering with a quirky nail bar.
Set up by successful YouTuber and stylist Emily Fisher (AKA Mermaid Gossip) – who originally hails from Wellingborough in Northamptonshire and, on the day we meet her, has peppermint green tresses – The Gossip Nail Bar is named after the collective noun for a group of mermaids (oh God, how we love a good collective noun) and, of course, is also so-called because getting your ‘nails did’ is a great time for a natter.
We’re happy to find, then, that Emily is super-easy to chat to and conversation flows nicely from the off, as she explains how her YouTube following grew dramatically after she posted an online tutorial on achieving ‘rose-gold’ hair (the video has now had over three million views) and how, once she began experimenting with her own nails and tutoring on her channel, she received numerous requests to do other peoples’, and soon realised she could potentially make a living out of it. So, when the opportunity came to collaborate with Glitch (Emily was invited to have her hair done in her blogger capacity and saw it was the perfect spot for her fledgling business), she jumped at it.
Decked out in pink and aqua – hope ‘San Junipero palette’ isn’t too niche a Black Mirror reference because that sums it up for us – with exotic plants, cute copper fixtures and botanical-print cushions, Emily’s corner is right in the window, so, with a cuppa, we watch the outside world rush by while she busies herself with the prep work. Worried I won’t be able to type with magnificent acrylic claws (and wistful), I’m going for the simple gel polish full-set, priced at £25 on the nail menu. After a cuticle push and initial file and shape, Emily paints a little dehydrator over the nails so that the gel bonds better, and helps me choose a vampiric purple base colour, which is applied, dried and topped with a metallic green nail powder that sort of melts into the base to create a beautiful petroleum-esque effect.
The next part is the most time-consuming, but only because it takes me so long to decide what pattern I’d like to go over the top of the nails – just a couple of them on each hand – to finish the look. Emily has a fast-growing array of stamping plates to choose from – I struggle to decide between a confectionery theme with candy canes and the like; geometric shapes; and a selection of seashells, before spotting some cute henna designs and settling on those. White gel is painted over the plate, a rubber stamp is pressed onto it, and this is then transferred onto the nail to create a neat little design. After a top coat and some cuticle oil, my jazzy new fingers are complete and it’s fair to say I’m very much in love.
The whole process takes around an hour, and it’s nice not to feel like you’re simply being processed on a conveyor belt of customers, as I’ve felt in some salons. Emily is a bit of a perfectionist and prefers for people not to feel rushed, so it’s a laid-back, enjoyable experience – and a very Instagrammable one too, with the fresh, 80s-tropicana decor providing a colourful backdrop for top-notch new talons.
We’ve already submitted our next design requests to the mermaid queen – fins crossed for a wave of success.
The Gossip Nail Bar launches 1 December.